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Saturday, February 25, 2017 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers

Red Sox 8, Twins 7

Saturday brought the third game of the spring calendar, and the first where the team was wearing their home white uniforms.  Again we arrived in the morning before the gates opened and went around back to see what was going on.  It was the usual drills – outfield practice, PFP and sprints for the pitchers, and batting practice.  Mostly we saw the same players we had watched over the past couple of days, and we added an autograph from Rusney Castillo.

Allen Craig and Josh Rutledge take B.P. under the backdrop of the Green Monster-sized fence on Field 1.

Allen Craig and Josh Rutledge take B.P. under the backdrop of the Green Monster-sized fence on Field 1.

This game got off to a much better start than yesterday’s.  Roenis Elias retired the Twins in order in the first and then the Red Sox jumped out to an early lead.  Dustin Pedroia, in his first game of the spring, led off with a double, Mookie Betts singled, and then Hanley Ramirez doubled in one run and Mitch Moreland drove in another.  One inning in, and it had already become my favorite game of the year!

It's not truly baseball season until Pedey gets in a game and does his trademark hop.

It's not truly baseball season until Pedey gets in a game and does his trademark hop.

Mookie Betts takes a lead off third base. He scored the first run of the game on Hanley's double.

Mookie Betts takes a lead off third base. He scored the second run of the game on Moreland's groundout.

Elias gave up a solo homer in the second, but everything was fine until Tyler Thornburg was charged with five runs while only getting two outs in the third.  Matt Barnes had to come in to finish Thornburg’s inning and stayed to complete one of his own, but he gave up another homer in the process, and the Sox found themselves down 7-2.

Tyler Thornburg's outing was as painful to watch as this pose looks.  But apparently he's one of those guys who has followed a really bad spring with a very good season.

Tyler Thornburg's outing was as painful to watch as this pose looks. But apparently he's one of those guys who is able to follow a really bad spring with a very good season, or at least that's what he did last year.

Luckily the Red Sox were able to chip away at the deficit.  They scored three runs in the fourth on doubles by Chris Young and Christian Vazquez (and with the assistance of an error by the Twins).  They added another run in the fifth on Pablo Sandoval’s single.

Hanley's hair flaps in the breeze as he swings.

Hanley's hair flaps in the breeze as he takes a big swing.

Speaking of flowing moss, Robbie Ross pitched a perfect sixth.

Speaking of flowing moss, Robbie Ross pitched a perfect sixth.

And while we're on the subject, Heath Hembree and his long locks took the mound in the seventh.  He also pitched a scoreless inning, but that was thanks to a runner being gunned down at the plate by left fielder Allen Craig.

And while we're on the subject, Heath Hembree and his long locks took the mound in the seventh. He also pitched a scoreless inning, but that was thanks to a runner being gunned down at the plate by left fielder Allen Craig.

Finally, in the sixth, the Red Sox tied the game on a double by first base prospect Sam Travis.

A pitchers' duel it was not.

A pitchers' duel it was not.

By the time the shadows grew long at JetBlue Park, there was not a cloud to be found in the sky.

By the time the shadows crept onto the field at JetBlue Park, there was not a cloud to be found in the sky.

The game was slow-paced (despite not having any intentional walks, if you can believe that) but it was worth it in the eighth when Deven Marrero led off with a double.  Later in the inning, Brian Bogusevic hit an RBI single to drive him in and give the Sox an 8-7 lead.

Brian Bogusevic takes a lead off first after driving in the go-ahead run.

Brian Bogusevic takes a lead off first after driving in the go-ahead run.

Non-roster invitee Austin Maddox got quickly through the ninth to nail down the save, and just like that it was back to being my favorite game of the year again!

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